Preparing for the Bernard Loiseau Culinary Festival 2012

Preparations are well under way already for the 7th Bernard Loiseau Culinary Festival, due to take place in March next year.

Gala evening 2011

Gala evening 2011

Bruno Le Gac, our Corporate Executive Chef, gives us an insight into the organisation behind what’s become the most prestigious culinary event in the Indian Ocean.

On the last day of the Festival Culinaire, we’ve already started thinking ahead to next year’s event…

The festival has been extremely successful since it began in 2005. Every year, we work harder than ever to make the next edition even more memorable than the last.

What’s new for 2012?

In 2012, guests will be more involved in the competition, so they really feel the excitement of the competing teams. They’ll feel the anticipation and suspense ‘live’, like on the competitive cookery shows on TV.

Planning next year’s festival

At the end of each festival, we have a debrief with the organisation team to discuss which parts of the program to keep, what needs to be adjusted and what innovations we should introduce to the next festival. From this discussion, we begin to write the programme of events.

The internal organisation in the hotel is a huge task. Chef Dominique Grel and his team have become experts at this. But it’s always a lot of work and requires great dedication.

Choosing who takes part

Then we have to think about who’s going to take part.

The judges and the winners 2011

The judges and the winners 2011

The European chefs

It’s a difficult alchemy to pull off because the professionals that we invite need to connect and share something special together. It’s all about harmony.

Being a food-lover, I like to describe the sense of competition as being akin to chilli. A touch of it is nice to bring a bit of zing, but too much is overpowering and counter-productive…

There’s now a large family of chefs all over Europe who have become friends through the event, and who meet up regularly.

The judges

The choice of the jury members is also extremely important. They must be well respected professionals who can all get along well, even if they have different backgrounds and ideas about what makes a great dish.

The island chefs

Last but not least, we need to select the candidates from our hotels. For the first time this year, we’ll have participants from 6 of our resorts. The process has already begun.

  • First step is a questionnaire.
  • Second is a practical task where the chefs have to create two classical recipes ‘from the book’. No innovation required – it’s all about technical ability and precision.
  • Third and last step is a competition with two recipes to make. The ‘basket’ of ingredients is the same for all chefs, and they are free to prepare anything they want out of it. We want to see technique of course, but mainly we’re looking for talent, creativity, taste and elegance.

The winners earn the right to represent their hotel, their colleagues and their country during the final event that takes place in Mauritius in March.

Let the show begin!

Find out more

Don’t miss our article about the spirit of the Bernard Loiseau Culinary Festival.

And if you want to know more about the event, get in touch with us. You can get in contact with us via Twitter, post photos to Facebook or use the comments section below.

Constance Belle Mare Plage wins International Chefs’ Day Challenge

Winning team from Belle Mare Plage
Winning team from Belle Mare Plage

Constance Belle Mare Plage has won one of the top culinary contests on the island of Mauritius.

Out of a total of 9 teams, Belle Mare Plage won the Best Table Set Up and was overall winner in the Black Box Competition.

Belle Mare Plage presented an elegant and classic table setting.

The general theme was futuristic with plexiglass balls suspended like planets, a small nod to us treating the International Day as a ‘universal’ event. The table design included a dominant orchid floral decoration and handwritten blackboard menus.

All decorations reflected our eco-awareness and included LED lamps, recycled materials and volcanic rock.

The event marks International Chefs’ Day and is organised by the Mauritius Chefs’ Association.

Interview with Ashok Bhugoo, Resident Manager at Constance Le Prince Maurice

Ashok Bhugoo is our Resident Manager at Constance Le Prince Maurice, Mauritius. Recently promoted, he gives an insight into developing your career in the luxury hotel industry.

Ashok Bhugoo, Resident Manager at Le Prince Maurice

Ashok Bhugoo, Resident Manager at Le Prince Maurice

Tell us how you got into the hotel industry?

I joined the hotel industry by mere coincidence. I’d just finished school, when one of my cousins told me about a hotel in Mauritius that was starting a training course.

At the time I had no idea how hotels worked. During the training, some of us were asked to help the restaurant during breakfast service. My job was to give the guests their plates as they came into the breakfast buffet. It was my first encounter with guests at a hotel, and I really enjoyed talking to them.

I was so impressed by this first experience of guest contact – I felt like I’d found my world, and this was where I wanted to grow.

How has your career progressed through the years?

Constance Le Prince Maurice

Constance Le Prince Maurice

After working as a trainee restaurant and room service waiter for 18 months, I tried different roles including Waiter, Head Barman, and Food and Beverage Manager.

In 2002, I joined Le Prince Maurice as Food and Beverage Manager before being promoted to Executive Assistant Manager in 2007. Since September 2011, I’ve been working in my new role as Resident Manager.

Tell us about your latest job as Resident Manager at Le Prince Maurice

My role is to assist the General Manager in the day-to-day operations of the hotel. I assist all the heads of departments and give them full support.

I help to ensure our guests needs are met, and that our quality service is maintained at all times. Personal service is very important at Constance hotels, and each guest is treated as an individual.  

What qualities does someone need to make it to management level in this industry?

I’d say the main qualities are self-motivation, passion for new challenges, dedication, good customer service and leadership skills, an eye for detail, being an excellent team player, and taking a neutral stance when resolving conflict.

How are guests’ expectations changing the way services are delivered?

Guests on the beach

Guests on the beach

Constance Le Prince Maurice has a high rate of repeat guests.  Each guest expects to be treated as a unique person, and we ensure that their expectations are met and exceeded. 

We focus on the small touches – the detail – at the right time. We really look after each guest from the time they walk into our hotel until they leave. This princely touch is one the main reasons guests choose to come back here.

You must have travelled a lot with your job – where would you most like to go in the future?

My favourite place is Monaco but I’d like to visit Singapore, Thailand, Greece and New York. I also feel great spending time at home in Quatre Bornes with my family – they are my driving force.

Weekly round up: 17-23 October 2011

This weekly feature offers a round-up of the content on our blog from the past week, in case you missed anything.

Beach bungalow at Lodge Tsarabanjina
Beach bungalow at Lodge Tsarabanjina

Split into categories, it’s another way for you to easily find the posts of value to you.

Competition

  • Name the sea creature: win perfume and wine
    We need your help again to give a pet name to our friendly sea creatures below. Come up with the best name (winners will be chosen by us, so be creative) and you could win.

Event

Inspiration

Insider tips

Culinary

Spa and sport

Recipe: Chicken Tandoori Marinade

Cumin seeds

Cumin seeds

This week Siddq, our Sous Chef at Jahaz Restaurant, Constance Halaveli, brings you his special homemade recipe for Tandoori Chicken Marinade.

Ingredients

  • 1 large chicken
  • 5g cumin seeds
  • 5g coriander seeds
  • 20g garam masala
  • 8g chilli powder
  • 4 tbsp plain yoghurt
  • 1 tsp lime juice
  • 1 tbsp garlic and ginger paste
  • salt and pepper to taste
     

1. Pre-heat your oven to 220 C
2. Prepare the ground cumin and coriander. Take your cumin and coriander seeds and toast over a medium heat until the spices become very fragrant and brown a little. Remove from the heat and cool to room temperature. When the toasted spices have cooled grind them in a pestle and mortar to a fine powder, reserve until needed.
3. Make the garlic and ginger paste - simply puree 50% fresh peeled ginger and 50% fresh peeled garlic. Mix together. This keeps for up to 7 days in the fridge if stored in an air tight container.
4. Blend all the ingredients from the recipe together, season to taste with salt and pepper, reserve.
5. Take 1 large chicken and completely remove the skin. Make 3 slices diagonally across both breasts and thighs approx 5 mm deep. This helps the marinade to penetrate and also ensures that your chicken will cook evenly. Then coat the chicken well with your Tandoori marinade.
6. Place chicken on a tray in the oven and leave until the edges almost blacken, when you see this colour change, lower the oven temperature to 180C and continue cooking until the internal temperature of the meat has reached 74 C. When cooking chicken, allow 20 minutes per 500g + an additional 20 minutes at the end.
7. Alternatively, you can cook the chicken on the BBQ.

Every Friday we publish tasty recipes from the Indian Ocean. If you’ve got a favourite dish from your holidays with Constance Hotels, get in contact with us and let us know which recipe you want us to feature next.

You can get in contact with us via Twitter, post photos to Facebook or use the comments section below.

Name the sea creature: win perfume and wine

Win fragrance and wine with Constance.

Scuba diving off Tsarabanjina, Madagascar

Scuba diving off Tsarabanjina, Madagascar

We need your help again to give a pet name to our friendly sea creatures below. Come up with the best name (winners will be chosen by us, so be creative) and you could win.

You came up with brilliant names for the creatures in our first sea creature competition – we can’t wait to see the names this time round.

To enter, just comment on this blog post, or on our Twitter feed with the name or names for one or both of the below sea creatures.

Bonus: there’s a bonus sea creature to name on the Constance Hotels Facebook page – name this one and you can also win a magnum of Art de Vignes wine. Enter as many times as you like.

Competition closes on Friday 4 November at 5pm, so get creative. Read our competition Terms and Conditions.

1. Name the anemone fish and win Serge Lutens fragrance

Clark's anemone fish, Maldives

Clark's anemone fish, Maldives

2. Name the spotted unicorn fish and win a bottle of Art de Vignes wine

Male and female spotted unicorn fish

Male and female spotted unicorn fish

Good luck naming our sea creatures – remember, the names we deem most creative, funny or entertaining will win.

And if you’ve got any underwater photos from the Maldives, we’d love to see them – you can post them on our Constance Hotels Facebook.

Don’t miss our article on snorkeling paradise – the Maldives.